Page last updated at 00:07 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Website offers ratings for public services in England

Elderly people
Social care for adults will be among public services rated on the site

People can check the quality of public services across England on a new website set up by the Audit Commission.

It is the first time information from inspectorates of services including health, social care and the police has been pooled in this way.

The "Oneplace" website divides England into 152 areas and uses a coloured flags system to rate performance.

It is intended to help poor performers learn from the best, as well as letting people compare their area with others.

Users of the site will be able to "check on everything from care of the elderly to progress in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies", says BBC local government correspondent John Andrew.

A green flag will denote exceptional performance, while a red flag will identify services giving cause for concern.

The website also features tables for council performance, assembled using toughened assessment that rated just 14 councils as excellent, while 11 share the lowest rating of poor.

However, the website "could be short-lived", according to our correspondent.

"The Conservatives say they'll abolish this system of area assessment if they win the next election and target inspections on areas that need them," he said.

Communities Secretary John Denham said: "It is just the start of our efforts to give local people far better access to information held by local public organisations so they can challenge, compare or scrutinise their local services in order to drive up standards in their area."

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